I love indie bookstores because they champion the works of local authors. They’re also willing to take chances on books major retailers aren’t. They have the freedom to be gutsy, and that’s just really neat. In my last blog post, 5 Places to Sell Your Book (Other Than a Bookstore), I gave you some ideas of nontraditional places to sell your book. Here are five more.
1. Kid-oriented stores.
If you’re a children’s book author, you’d do well to approach locally owned and operated activity centers for kids. Most of these have gift shops that offer everything from stuffed animals to board games to (you guessed it!) books. While it might be tough to get your book into the gift shop of a national chain, an independently owned or locally funded center may prove much easier.
2. Doctor’s offices.
This is a very niche location in which to sell a book, but if you’ve written a niche book that you feel might be of interest to patients receiving specific treatment or wanting to learn more about a certain medical issue, a doctor's office could be a good place to try selling it.
3. Speaking engagements.
Not all of us have a ready-made audience, so this may not work for everyone—but if you’re given the opportunity to speak in front of an audience about your life, or your work, or a special project you’re involved with, making your book available on the spot could generate a lot of sales. Needless to say, the topic of your book should match up with your topic of discussion. If you're speaking at a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new youth rehab center you've helped build, don't mention your vampire book. If you've written a book about your past struggles with drug abuse, however, his would be an ideal fit.
4. The trunk of your car.
This may sound like a joke, but it’s not. One author whose book I edited and published has had incredible success by carrying a box of his books in his car trunk. Any time he’s out and about and the opportunity presents itself to talk about his book, he does. And if the person he’s talking to expresses interest, he simply says, “I’ve got some copies in my car if you’re interested!” Most of the time, this results in a sale—offering evidence that old-school strategies still work.
5. Your own website.
Last but certainly not least is selling your book through your very own author website. Most people think that having their book listed on Amazon drives sufficient visibility, and it does. Amazon is one of the biggest search engines on the planet, and selling your book there pretty much ensures that if someone Googles your name, it’s going to come up. But every bit of extra exposure helps, and selling your book direct on your own website can help increase your visibility.
Whatever path you choose, always take the personal approach. Whenever you have the opportunity to talk to a store owner face to face, do it. Phone calls and emails are impersonal and make it too easy for people to say no. As a best practice, always bring along at least one copy of your book to leave with the person in charge. Finally, be confident! Most people only dream about writing a book. You’ve done it. Now get out there and sell it.